The Hidden Abuse...
The Hidden Crime!
Abuse is a child becoming a sexual partner for an adult. Anyone
under the age of 18 who is used by an adult for sexual gratification
is being Sexually Abused!
According to the most recent National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, figures from 2005-2006 show a 38 percent drop in the number of cases of child sexual abuse reported to CPS investigations and community professionals since 1993. The number of sexually abused children decreased from 217,700 in 1993 to 135,300 in 2005-2006.
These are only the ones that are reported. The
number of cases not reported is by far greater - because kids
are afraid to tell anyone what's happened to them ... and
legally validating the abuse is difficult at best. It's usually
a best kept secret!
The long-term emotional & psychological damage of sexual
abuse can be devastating to a child. The abuse must be identified
and stopped immediately --
and the child must receive professional help at once.
Child sexual abuse can take place in the family -- by a parent,
step-parent, sibling or other relative. It's almost always
by someone your child knows ... friend, neighbor, childcare
giver, teacher ... yet at times can be a stranger.
When sexual abuse occurs, a child can develop various distressing
feelings, thoughts and behaviors. No child is ever psychologically
prepared to cope with repeated sexual abuse. An infant or
toddler will develop problems resulting from the inability
to cope with the abuse.
The child who knows and loves the abuser becomes trapped between
affection or loyalty for that person, and the sense that the
sexual activities are terribly wrong.
If the child tries to break away from the sexual relationship,
the abuser may threaten the child with violence death or loss
of love. When sexual abuse occurs in a family, the child may
fear the anger, jealousy or shame of other family members,
or be afraid the family will break up if the secret is told.
Any child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually
develops low self-esteem, feels worthless and has an abnormal
or distorted view of sex. He or she may become withdrawn,
mistrust adults, and can become suicidal.
Some children who've been sexually abused have difficulty
relating to others -- except on sexual terms. Some sexually
abused kids will continue the pattern by becoming sexual abusers
or prostitutes, or have other serious problems when they reach
every two minutes a child is sexually assaulted.
* There are often there are NO physical signs of sexual
* By staying silent the abuser is protected.
* Silence gives permission for the victimization to
* That one in four girls and one in six boys are
victims of sexual abuse by age 18.
* Sexual abuse doesnt discriminate
it spans all socio-economic classes and religions
* That 50-90% of child sexual assaults are never reported.
* In 1998, Health and Human Services reported
108,360 confirmed sexual abuse cases.
* 61% of reported rapes were committed against
victims under age 17.
* 85% of the time, the child knows and trusts
of Sexual Abuse
If your child displays any of the following signs, it doesn't
mean that they're a victim of sexual abuse - yet sexual abuse
should be considered as a possible cause:
* Using kids for prostitution, in pornographic materials
and as sexual objects
* Lack of interest in usual activities or unusually
* Changes in temperament or interests
* Insecurity and fears
* Unusual and unexplained aches and pains
* Extreme behaviors, nightmares, outbursts of aggression,
poor concentration, anger, depression
* Excessive masturbation
* Bed wetting or soiling
* Hesitancy to be alone with a certain person
* Age inappropriate sexual knowledge, promiscuity and
* Sexually transmitted diseases
* Sore, red, bleeding, itching, burning genital areas,
discharge and unusual odors
* Pain on urination
* Stained underpants
* Self destructive behavior
* Acting more immature and infantile
* Depression or withdrawal from friends or family
* Statements that their bodies are dirty or damaged,
or fear that there is something wrong with
them in their genital area
* Refusal to go to school
* Delinquency/conduct problems
* Aspects of sexual molestation in drawings, games,
* Unusual aggressiveness, or suicidal behavior
* Unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of
a sexual nature
* Statements demonstrating unusual amounts of sexual
* Sexually explicit drawings
* Sexual interaction with other people, animals, or
* Preoccupation with sexual matters
* Sexual promiscuity (multiple partners)
* Reports of unwanted sexual experiences
* Adolescent prostitution
* Significant weight gain or loss
* Unusual distancing from the family
* Decrease in achievement
* Unusual wariness of other people and new situations
* Running away
* If a child talks about an adult's undergarments
* Acting out
* Self-destructive behavior
* Use of alcohol and/or drugs
* Regressive behavior
You Suspect Abuse, or Your Child Tells You He/She Has Been
Don't Be Afraid to Get Help!
When kids report they are or have been sexually abused, most
often they're telling the truth. False accusations by children
represent less than 5 percent of all reports.
* Do not panic
* Calmly listen to your child and ask what happened
* Do not criticize your child
* Let your child know that you will protect them
* Do not confront the abuser
* Notify the Police and Child Protective Services
* Get your child medical and psychological help from
those trained experts who deal with sexual
* Reinforce to your child how much you love them
Tips for Parents
* Develop close communication with your kids. Let them
know they can tell or talk to you about
* Make a rule that there should be no secrets kept
from you. Secrets can be dangerous. Encourage
your child to tell a trusted adult if they are hurt or worried. Teach your child about the parts of the body and
sexuality. Abusers agree that a curious child's
lack of information makes him/her easy prey.
* Stress that sexual advances from adults or older
children are wrong and illegal
* Emphasize that children have a right to body privacy
* Instill in all children a sense of self worth and
dignity at every opportunity
* Make a commitment to spend plenty of time with your
children. A lonely and attention starved child
makes an easy target.
* Make it a priority to know your children's friends
and their families
* Listen to your instincts. If a situation or person
makes you uncomfortable, trust your feelings
* Teach your child to trust their feelings and pay
attention to what they tell you
* If you have questions about your child's sexual development
talk to your child's doctor or teacher. They may
be able to help you make sense of whatever is causing
* Psychologists or child psychiatrists may also be
sources of help
* When looking for advice or services related to questions
about your child's sexuality, be sure to
ask whether or not the qualified professional has any training
regarding child development and sexual abuse.
If not, ask for a professional.
Preventing Sexual Abuse
If a child taught what's "okay" and what's "not
okay" and they are self-confident, they are less apt to
fall victim to the wiles of a sexual predator and more likely
to report an incident should one occur. Several steps can
be taken to protect your child from sexual abuse. Educate
your children about their bodies, and what constitutes sexual
* Telling children that "if someone tries to touch
your body and do things that make you feel
funny, say NO to that person and tell me right away"
* Teaching children that respect does not mean blind
obedience to adults and to authority, for
example, don't tell children to, "Always do everything the
teacher or baby-sitter tells you to do"
* Encouraging professional prevention programs in your
local school system
Teach Your Child:
* A healthy touch (for example -- a quick hug or kiss
on the cheek from a loved one)
* A confusing touch (for example -- aggressive
tickling and brushing up against parts of
* A bad touch (for example -- fondling genitals
or sexual intercourse)
Tell your children that it is never OK for adults,
older adolescents, or even for any kid to act sexually suggestive
in front of them, and it is never OK for adults or
anyone else to have sex with them.
Educate Your Children in Advance
About What Abusers May Tell Them, Such
"This is our little secret,"
"You are special, and I only do this with very special children,"
"If you ever tell anyone, I'll have to track them down and
"If you tell anyone, I'll have to kill myself,"
"You like this too, and you're as responsible for this as
"You'll only worry your parents needlessly if you tell them,"
"It will break your mother's heart if she knows you agreed
to do this,"
"You didn't complain about this the first time we did it.
Teach Your Children to Trust Their Instincts About Unusual
Physical Behaviors From Adults, Older Adolescents ... and
Yes - Even Other Kids.
Write a "script" and rehearse in advance, giving
your children specific language to use. Role-play how they
can tell you about it. The majority of child sexual abusers
are individuals who are liked, loved, and trusted by your
children and yourself. (Strangers account for only 10 to 30
percent of the perpetrators.) They can be very charming, and
manipulative. Sexual abusers do not discriminate. They target
every socioeconomic class, education level, gender, religion,
and race. Be assertive with the adults and adolescents in
your children's life, such as babysitters, scout leaders,
the clergy, coaches, etc. Stay in touch with them. Sexual
predators tend to prey on children who they think don't have
strong parental figures in their lives. Be suspicious if an
adult figure wants to spend frequent one-on-one time with
your child, take a trip with him, or give him gifts. Keep
your children involved in group activities. Monitor your children's
activities with older adolescent neighbors, relatives, stepsiblings,
Sadly, so many survivors admit being abused by distant relatives
or friends of the family during vacations, social events,
or holidays. Keep children separate from older adolescents
or adults, if you have uspicions, and make sure a protective
parent watches them. Never leave your child alone or unattended.
Work out a plan, in advance, between the two of you if you
were ever to get separated on an outing, such as visiting
a shopping mall.
Avoid parading your children in suggestive ways such as beauty
pageants. She could get the idea that she is only worthwhile
if adults reward her for her looks.
Spend unstructured "hang around" time with your
kids, so that they'll feel comfortable opening up to you.
Volunteer to carpool as often as possible - it's astounding
what you can learn from listening to your children's conversations
Monitor your children's Internet use. Many pedophiles use
chat rooms to make connections with their victims. Educate
your child to never give personal information such as names,
addresses, and phone numbers over the Internet, and never
to go to someone's house that he met in a chat room. Tell
them that these pedophiles assume different identities and
lie about their ages and backgrounds. Don't allow your child
to post a personal profile on line. Keep your computer in
a public area of your house. Know your children's passwords.
Install parental control software on your computer. Get involved
in child-abuse prevention through your child's school. Make
sure your child's school does both criminal and CPS (Child
Protective Services) background checks on all its employees.
Also work to get an abuse-protection curriculum.
It's Imperative That Kids Are Taught:
* Talk to your child daily! Hear what they're saying!
* Teach your child names for their various body parts
* Teach your child about good and bad touches
* Teach kids that if anyone tries to touch their
* Private parts or do anything that makes them feel
uncomfortable, that it's OKAY TO SAY NO
even if they know the abuser
Child sexual abusers can make a child extremely fearful of
telling ... and only when a special effort has helped the
child to feel safe, can the child talk freely. If a child
says he or she has been molested, parents must try to remain
calm and reassure their child that what happened was not their
fault. Parents should seek a medical examination and psychiatric
Sexually abused children and their families need immediate
professional evaluation and treatment. Child and adolescent
psychiatrists can help abused children regain a sense of self-esteem,
cope with feelings of guilt about the abuse, and begin the
process of overcoming the trauma. Such treatment can help
reduce the risk that the child will develop serious problems
as an adult.
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics
They Only Have One Childhood!
Let's Give Them Beautiful Dreams ... Instead of Shattering
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